GALLIPOLIS — Union General George Armstrong Custer made an appearance on Thursday in Gallipolis — and not as a ghost.
The Gallipolis Chautauqua Committee kicked off its Living History Nights this week with a reenactment of the Civil War general’s life.
“It’s very important for people to know more about history by seeing history portrayed,” said Debbie Saunders, the director of Bossard Memorial Library, where the event was held.
The event, which was sponsored by Ohio Valley Bank, the Gallia County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Bossard Memorial Library, was hosted at Bossard Memorial Library. Custer, who was portrayed by Rick Williams, was the first of three people highlighted by the Living History Nights, which will run from June 9 to June 11. Events begin nightly with music at 6:15 p.m. and be followed by a performance from 7-9 p.m.
The evening began with music performed by Steve Free, who performed songs such as “Wayfaring Stranger” and “Count Your Blessings.”
The series aims to highlight notable Ohioans. Custer, who was born in New Rumley, Ohio, graduated from West Point in 1861 and went on to serve for the Union in the American Civil War. He was part of an infantry company to capture the first Confederate flag of the war, was appointed to serve for General George McClellan, and eventually became a brigadier general. Custer was known for fighting with his soldiers rather than just ordering them. He died at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 in the Great Sioux War. The battle, also remembered as Custer’s Last Stand, continues to be studied by military historians today.
Over one hundred people came to Bossard Memorial Library to hear Williams’s portrayal of Custer. Refreshments, which were available by donation, were served before and after the event.
Living History Nights continue on Friday with an Ohio State pep rally led by GAHS cheerleaders, then meet coach Woody Hayes. The finale Saturday evening begins with music by Kendra Ward and Bob Bence followed by frontier spy, scout, and huntress “Mad” Anne Bailey.
The Bossard Memorial Library would like to remind guests, that in order to maintain the authenticity of the historical character, some mild language may be used in the course of the performance.
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Sharla Moody is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing.